Early reviews positive for new NASCAR rules package

Kyle Busch- NASCAR Inspection at Auto Club Speedway

Kyle Busch- NASCAR Inspection at Auto Club Speedway

Brad Keselowski raced to victory at the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway Sunday. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who finished 18th, led one lap. Kyle Busch, running his 500th Cup race and coming off his record-breaking 51st Gander Outdoors Truck Series win the night before, qualified sixth but started thirty-fifth after wrecking his vehicle in final practice and having to switch to a backup. In the past, race-winning teams found in violation of the rules were penalized with post-race fines, points deductions and/or suspensions, but victories were allowed to stand. It isn't meant to be the "pack racing" beloved by fans at Daytona and Talladega, but drivers so far anticipate that will be the effect. We're in a good spot early in the season. In the meantime, Landon Cassill experienced a flat tyre and had to pit, dropping him two laps down.

Kyle Larson led a race-high 142 laps before finishing 12behind Daytona 500 victor Denny Hamlin.

Keselowski took the lead for good when he stole the lead away from teammate Joey Logano with 32 laps to go, and from there, he held off a charging Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing and drove to the victory.

The race resumed on lap 41 as Almirola spun his tyres, causing his outside lane to have a slow restart as Larson took off. But his auto was dealing with an overheating engine after running over a piece of debris late in the race. As well documented in the most recent race at Martinsville Speedway, Truex races cleanly to deserve getting breaks from others - but the problem is the favors rarely are returned because there's no obligation to reciprocate.

The 25 lead changes were more than the last three Atlanta races and Martin Truex Jr. was in a legitimate chase for the lead in the closing laps.

NASCAR's second and final practice session, Saturday in a steady mist, got off to a bumpy start when Brad Keselowski couldn't make it to his vehicle because of illness.

Larson was the first driver off pit road following a competition caution 35 laps into the race. As stops continued, Larson shuffled into first before Harvick caught up.

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Harvick earned the stage victory. Truex finished third, followed by Blaney, Hamlin, Logano, Kurt Busch, Erik Jones, Kyle Busch, and Bowyer.

Busch was able to drive from the back to the front twice during the race.

Despite Busch's progress, he suffered a tyre rub that ultimately doomed his right-rear tyre on lap 223, bringing out the caution. As Harvick started to drop, Keselowski began his move up. Preece glanced at his tachometer and inadvertently clipped McLeod, spinning the #52 backwards and destroying the #47's front end. I just needed one more (lap). "When I looked up, [McLeod] was coming in a bit". "It wasn't on there long, but when you take all the air away, it only takes a lap and you're going to have your temps well over where they should be".

Jerry Bonkowski: I think it's more an example of drivers getting used to the new rules and how they impact track position. "I spent most of the day up front, so once I got back there it was pretty insane". It was one that we couldn't confirm that the foot was down via the camera angle, so we didn't make the call.

After having limited practice time on Saturday with Austin Cindric helping turn laps in the No. 2 Ford, Keselowski led the final 33 laps en route to his 28th career win and second at AMS. Remember, JJ did win the Clash race and he finished 9th at Daytona. Look at Keselowski, who went from being a lap down to leading in less than 10 laps because of some quirky scoring twists from a yellow flag.

Keselowski, meanwhile, raced to his 60th win for Roger Penske to pass Indianapolis great Donohue's mark as the team leader.

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